Editor’s Note:  We are happy to introduce our newest writer, Iron Spartan. 

The Man Cave needs to die.  What is it besides a place for never-has-beens to hide from adulthood and to relive and revel in the achievements of their betters?

What we need is a return of the study.

The study has many forms: from lofty book lined libraries, to bedroom and basement offices, to garages and out buildings.  Regardless of form, they all served a similar purpose, to allow men to refine and improve themselves and to grow.  While often a place of solitary refuge, it is not always such.

The more scholarly would use it to pursue studies that might be outside their career or to prepare themselves for that next step onward and upward.  The more hands on types have shops where they build things, fix things, and practice skills that are needed and would otherwise atrophy.  To the athletically inclined, the home gym is their study.

Lets say that you bought into the hype and have a Man Cave.  What can you do to change it from an anchor in your life to a spring board?

First, what do you want to achieve?  Men need goals.  Be reasonable in your goals, but be ambitious.  Your study should help you focus on that, and the space should reflect that.  You also need time to use it.  Set aside a few hours a week to work on those goals.  I have a family, 2 young children, 2 jobs, and I still find time.  If it’s important, you will make it work.

Second, it is your place.  Everything in it should be YOURS.  Not your favorite sportsball team’s, not your alma mater’s (unless earned by you), not your kid’s or your spouse’s, YOURS.  Sound narcissistic?  It’s not.  It’s a stark reminder of what you have done and what you should be proud of.  Pride is much like water; too little will kill you just as too much, and far too many men have been told to not take pride in what they have accomplished.  Remove distractions, like the television.  Restrict phone and computer use to the task at hand.  This requires discipline, but is worth it.  Trophies, pictures, mementos should all be of achievements.  Do you have anything to put up?  Is any of it recent or is all of it from glory days long since departed?  If it’s the latter, it’s time to get to work.

Lastly, realize this is a working space, not a museum.  As your goals change, so will your study.  It is not the Fortress of Solitude, unless that is something that you need.  This place isn’t for hiding from the world, but working to master it.